Understanding NFL Spreads

May 31, 2016
Understanding NFL Spreads 1

Updated: February 19, 2024

NFL spreads can be understood
When a new bettor looks at an odds board, they may be confused about all the symbols and numbers that they see. Although most NFL fans and bettors are generally accustomed to seeing NFL spreads, it does not necessarily mean that they understand them.

All about NFL Spreads

A point spread is a number that bookmakers use as a median between the opposing teams to stir betting interest in them. The favorites have to provide the right number of points to inexperienced bettors to cause enough interest to support them, whereas the underdogs should not be such unlikely winners that sport bettors refuse to bet on them.

An example of NFL odds looks like this:

Team A -5 (-110)
Team B +5 (-110)

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How Does a Point Spread Work?

You will notice that the favorite team has a minus (-) value. In this game, Team A is favored by 5 points. On the other hand, the underdog team has a plus (+) value, so in this game, Team B is likely to lose by 5 points.

Based on this, if Team A wins by at least 5 points, they cover the spread as the favorite. But if they win by less than 5 points, this means they have not covered the 5-point spread. Team B has covered it because they are within the specified spread. Most of the time, the favorite wins the game, but fails to cover the spread, which is a reason for a bettor to lose their bet.

Meaning of -110

The -110 of both teams in NFL spreads is like paying a commission or tax to the bookmakers for placing a bet. In general, a bettor pays 10% to the bookmaker, which is basically a fee for brokering the bet. The -110 signifies that a better should bet $110 in order to win a profit of $100. Some bookmakers have a lower risk, which means you could still earn $100 even if you bet less money.

For instance, if you see -8 (-105), then you only have to bet $105 to win a profit of $100.

Smart bettors would always strive to look for the best prices and numbers possible in terms of moneylines and spreads. You have probably heard of “price shopping” before. This means having the best possible value in sports betting. If you have the chance to bet less money and win the same amount, you would certainly go for the lesser bet.

“Price shopping” is really important if you want to save money. You could bet less money on one sportsbook than the others.

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What Happens if You Win or Lose?

If you win a bet, you will get your initial bet of $110 and the additional $100 you won for a total of $210. Now, if you lose the bet, you lose the original $110 bet, which means that the sportsbook has gained an extra $10 and they are still ahead at the end, even if you bet another $110 and win it the next time.

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This is why it is important that you check the odds to determine the NFL spreads that you would bet on.


Author Andy

Hi I'm Andy and as a regular bettor on sports I know where to spot a good sportsbook sign up deal. With over 25 years of placing wagers on horse racing and football I can lend my expertise to writing and advising you on everything sports and NFL betting. To your success.

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